Country Summary

2023 population pyramid



Madagascar was one of the last major habitable landmasses on earth to be settled by humans. Madagascar was a pirate stronghold during the late 17th and early 18th centuries. The French conquered the island in 1896 and made it a colony. Independence was regained in 1960.



total: 587,041 sq km
land: 581,540 sq km
water: 5,501 sq km


tropical along coast, temperate inland, arid in south

Natural resources

graphite, chromite, coal, bauxite, rare earth elements, salt, quartz, tar sands, semiprecious stones, mica, fish, hydropower

People and Society


total: 29,452,714
male: 14,760,501
female: 14,692,213 (2024 est.)

Ethnic groups

Malayo-Indonesian (Merina and related Betsileo), Cotiers (mixed African, Malayo-Indonesian, and Arab ancestry - Betsimisaraka, Tsimihety, Antaisaka, Sakalava), French, Indian, Creole, Comoran


Malagasy (official) 99.9%, French (official) 23.6%, English 8.2%, other 0.6% (2018 est.)


Church of Jesus Christ in Madagascar/Malagasy Lutheran Church/Anglican Church 34%, Roman Catholic 32.3%, other Christian 8.1%, traditional/Animist 1.7%, Muslim 1.4%, other 0.6%, none 21.9% (2021 est.)

Population growth rate

2.18% (2024 est.)


Government type

semi-presidential republic


name: Antananarivo

Executive branch

chief of state: President Andry RAJOELINA (since 16 December 2023)
head of government: Prime Minister Christian NTSAY (since 6 June 2018)

Legislative branch

description: bicameral Parliament consists of:
Senate or Antenimierandoholona (18 seats; 12 members indirectly elected by an electoral college of municipal, communal, regional, and provincial leaders and 6 appointed by the president; members serve 5-year terms)
National Assembly or Antenimierampirenena (151 seats; 87 members directly elected in single-seat constituencies by simple majority vote and 64 directly elected in multi-seat constituencies by closed-list proportional representation vote; members serve 5-year terms)


Economic overview

low-income East African island economy; natural resource rich; extreme poverty; return of political stability has helped growth; sharp tax revenue drop due to COVID-19; leading vanilla producer; environmentally fragile

Real GDP (purchasing power parity)

$44.491 billion (2022 est.)
$42.864 billion (2021 est.)
$40.537 billion (2020 est.)

Real GDP per capita

$1,500 (2022 est.)
$1,500 (2021 est.)
$1,400 (2020 est.)

Agricultural products

rice, sugarcane, cassava, sweet potatoes, milk, bananas, vegetables, mangoes/guavas, tropical fruits, potatoes (2022)


meat processing, seafood, soap, beer, leather, sugar, textiles, glassware, cement, automobile assembly plant, paper, petroleum, tourism, mining


$4.689 billion (2022 est.)
$3.362 billion (2021 est.)
$2.589 billion (2020 est.)

Exports - partners

US 18%, France 15%, China 13%, Japan 11%, Germany 4% (2022)

Exports - commodities

nickel, garments, vanilla, cloves, cobalt (2022)


$6.041 billion (2022 est.)
$4.769 billion (2021 est.)
$3.718 billion (2020 est.)

Imports - partners

China 24%, India 10%, France 9%, Oman 6%, South Africa 6% (2022)

Imports - commodities

refined petroleum, rice, fabric, palm oil, cotton fabric (2022)

Exchange rates

Malagasy ariary (MGA) per US dollar -
Exchange rates:
4,096.116 (2022 est.)
3,829.978 (2021 est.)
3,787.754 (2020 est.)
3,618.322 (2019 est.)
3,334.752 (2018 est.)

Page last updated: Saturday, July 13, 2024